Four years ago, around this time of year when the weather starts to turn and the promise of summer feels so real, a quartet of baby-faced Liverpudlian-based lads dropped instant classic “T-Shirt Weather” on our unsuspecting ears. Four years on we can confirm it’s still pure sunshine personified.
Made up of lead vocalist and guitarist Kieran Shudall, guitarist Joe Falconer, bassist Sam Rourke, and drummer Colin Jones, Circa Waves have come a long way, recently releasing their third studio record, What’s It Like over There?, and selling out their UK headline tour.
And it’s no small feat. First off, it’s a testimony to the thriving indie music scene, but also the ingenuity of the boys, who have managed to shrink and expand over their edges, upping their fizzy pop ante and even incorporating R&B influences, but without ever sacrificing their heart-soaring rock sensibility. In the new record, listen out for the nostalgic, head-shaking “Movies,” and melancholic “The Way We Say Goodbye.” Sobs.
Following their phenomenal gig at Camden’s Roundhouse, we sit down for a chat with them…
Hey guys, how are you?
We’re good! We’re currently running around the country playing in-stores and meeting lots of people who’ve bought our new album.
Your pop-up pub event to escape Brexit looked amazing – guessing you guys feel super opinionated about it?
I think most people are opinionated about it, even if it’s been exhausting two years I think everyone knows what happens now is going to affect the country for a long time. I think the national mood is inevitably going to slip into the music, but also I think that it doesn’t all have to be negative. I think at times like this a little bit of positive thinking goes a long way.
You guys have just dropped your third album, What’s It Like Over There? – you must be proud?
We’re really proud. It’s our most ambitious record to date and we wanted to push ourselves as a band and explore new areas. The response we’ve been getting as we’ve been doing signings has been great, we feel after three records as a band is a real statement of intent that we want Circa Waves to be a constantly evolving thing.
What are the main themes of the album?
This album is more outward-looking than previous ones, telling stories of other people but rooting them within personal experience. I think it’s interesting when listening to record to try and look at the fine the line between Kieran’s experiences and the characters he writes about, trying to work out where each of those elements begin and end. Society at the moment is fascinated with what others are doing, yet the image people project of themselves is heavily edited meaning we’re all jumbled up with knowing what exactly is real. It’s an interesting idea that we thought we could play with across the album and with the artwork.
How is this album different?
This album feels a lot broader and more cinematic than previous ones. We didn’t find ourselves confined by the image we previously had of ourselves as a four-piece guitar band and it allowed us to be more open as we went into the studio. We took each song and really tried to find the best possible version of it even if that meant reaching for instruments and styles that that were previously undiscovered before. Breaking with something you feel comfortable with can feel risky, but its been incredibly gratifying and we feel like we’ve opened the door to infinite possibilities with the development of this band.
Do you have a favourite track or lyrics from the new album?
My favourite track on the album is “Motorcade.” My favourites are always never singles though. They are always songs I think are little gems that are tucked away reserved for people who still take the time and listen to an album in it’s entirety. I get a bit of a Bowie vibe from it and there’s something so catchy about it that I find myself humming it all the time without even realising it.
How does it feel to have a sold-out tour? Are you excited to be back on the road?
It feels great. We’ve always prided ourselves on being an entertaining live band selling out shows feels like a stamp of approval. We love doing UK tours, for me it’s my favourite part of being in this band and so I’m looking forward to soaking in every moment of it. We’re really excited to play the new ones as well, I feel like that’s the moment that they truly become solidified as Circa Waves songs.
“Me, Myself & Hollywood” incorporates R&B influences – do you think you guys are becoming more confident in your sound and direction?
I think we’ve realised that if something in music interests us then we can find a way to incorporate it into our music but not lose the essence of the band. We’re all huge music fans and listen to such a broad range of genres it’s inevitable that those things will seep through the cracks and start to intersect with what we’re doing. I don’t think there’s any particular direction we’re planning on heading, we’re just trying to write good songs that make us excited and will sound huge on a festival main stage.
What are you excited for next?
It’s weird to say when you’re promoting your new record, but I can’t wait to put out the next one. As a band, we’ve got a lot more in us.
What’s your five-year goal?
More of the same, just bigger and better each time.